REVIEW: ‘Y: The Last Man’

Creator: Eliza Clark

Cast: Diane Lane, Ashley Romans, Ben Schnetzer, Olivia Thirlby, Amber Tamblyn, Elliot Fletcher, Marin Ireland

Genre: Dystopian thriller

Release date: September 13, 2021 – present

Country/Language: USA / English

8 Episodes, 47-54 minutes each

Imagine if half of the world’s population dies in an instant. We are not talking about a purple alien snapping his fingers with a magical jewel-encrusted glove. We are talking about a mass extinction based on a biological system failure. One that can’t be reversed and the cure being a mystery.

The new TV show, titled ‘Y: The Last Man’, follows this fantastical premise. The FX-produced show is based on the comic book series of the same name by American authors Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.

The dystopian show is set in a future United States where over the course of a few days, all mammals with the Y chromosome die in an instant. This means the death of men in government positions, power plants and other essential industries. The mass deaths cause an irreversible crisis in societies across the world, leading to food, water and fuel shortages among others.

To stop the world from reverting to the Dark Ages, women take up the charge to stabilize American society, such as President Jennifer Brown (Diane Lane), a former U.S. Congresswoman. Brown is grieving the death of her husband while dealing with a crumbling civilization and a competitive political environment where conservatives like Kimberly Cunningham (Amber Tamblyn), the daughter of the deceased President and mother of dead sons, believes that Brown is hiding something from her.

In all the chaos, one man with an XY chromosome has mysteriously survived the extinction. He’s Yorick (Ben Schnetzer), a young man who works as an escape artist. Coincidentally, he is also the son of President Brown. Being the only biological male to survive, he is now a subject for testing and treatment so that scientists can develop a cure to protect future male babies.

‘Y: The Last Man’ is a nerve-wrackingly thrilling show. The script is smart, exciting and tense which captures the sense of panic in a world gone mad. Characters like President Brown, Yorick, Kimberly, Yorick’s sister Hero (Olivia Thirlby), single mom Nora Brady (Marine Ireland) and Hero’s friend and trans man Sam (Elliot Fletcher) are all written with attention, care and nuance. A special shout out goes to Ashley Romans who portrays Agent 355, Yorick’s bodyguard who goes undercover as Secret Service agent Sarah Burgin. Romans delivers her lines powerfully and is always cautious and present as the agent. Her rapport with Yorick is amusing to watch.

The political machinations inside the government headquarters make the show deeply entertaining thought-provoking. The global catastrophe unfolds in a way that feels chillingly realistic and the social aftermath is scary and convincing. We see abandoned cities and grocery stores among other buildings. The emptiness and loneliness in these sequences prove to be hauntingly effective. However, the story never loses its sense of humanity, hope and good-hearted people who are willing to form new ties and come to each other’s aid. One should also mention that some of the comic scenes work splendidly and the jokes will catch you off-guard and leave you cackling.

Every episode ends on a cliff hanger which will make you grit your teeth and wait eagerly to see what happens next. The show is currently on its fifth episode as of print and will air its last episode on October 18.

‘Y: The Last Man’ is currently streaming on FX on Hulu and Disney+ Hotstar.

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